With spring's arrival, two things pop out immediately -- gigantic sequels are more plentiful than usual, and summer is starting earlier and earlier. Here's what's coming up.
James Foley is an erratic director (Glengarry Glen Ross, Reckless, At Close Range), but he's almost never dull. That's the upside of Confidence, the story of a grifter who finds himself indebted to the Mob, and not in a good way. Also on the positive side, the supporting cast includes Dustin Hoffman, Rachel Weisz and Paul Giamatti. The worrisome thing is that Ed Burns stars, but he's a more interesting actor for other directors than he is in his own films. Look for an April 29 opening.
singer sews up x2
Well, round up the usual suspects, because Bryan Singer brings everybody back for X-Men 2. Of course, X-Men's two years on video and the cast's exposure have expanded the audience. The originals are back, along with new mutants. While the trailer and preview on the X-Men 1.5 DVD make X2 look fairly kick-ass, they also show an awful lot more characters. Weird, since one of the complaints about the original was that people's favourites had too little screen time. X2 is set to open May 2.
shape shifts to screen
Neil LaBute, the writer-director who puts the fun back in dysfunctional (Nurse Betty, Your Friends And Neighbors), is back with an adaptation of his off-Broadway play The Shape Of Things that includes most of the original cast. Paul Rudd and Rachel Weisz play a couple embarked on answering the question "How much will a man change for the woman he loves?" She's an artist, he works in a gallery. She decides to give him a makeover without his knowing. New Elvis Costello songs got good feedback at Sundance. Look for a May 9 release.
Andy and Larry Wachowski's The Matrix Reloaded is the most impatiently awaited sequel of the year. The original Matrix is one of the hottest-selling DVDs ever. Everybody's back, and the filmmakers face the intriguing challenge of topping some of the jaw-dropping effects and fight sequences in the first film. Can't wait. But I'll have to -- Matrix Reloaded opens May 15. For those who can't get enough info, try www.thematrixonline.com.